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Introduction

Your first flights will be in a dual-control glider with a qualified instructor. You will be launched into the air by being towed behind a light aeroplane.

The training of a glider pilot is carried out in accordance with the principles and methods established by the Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA).   The syllabus of training is quite formal and is based on a gradual transfer of responsibility from the instructor to the student as training progresses and the ability of the student increases.

Glider pilots are exempt from holding pilot licences.  However, the GFA is responsible for the establishment of pilot certificates which are regarded highly enough by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the aviation industry to be considered as a satisfactory substitute for licences.

As the basic building blocks of learning to fly gliders, the GFA has established three levels of pilot certificates, known simply as the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Certificates.  The purpose of the three levels is to progressively build up pilot ability and confidence, offering the developing pilot more privileges as his or her experience increases.  They may be considered as the basic certificates of competence and therefore as the loose equivalent of the various stages of licences that power pilots hold.

The ultimate training objective of the GFA is to produce safe and efficient cross-country pilots.  On the basis that walking comes before running, it is necessary to put into place a certain level of knowledge and some unbreakable habits of safety before raising the sights to the goals of the various international badges of achievement or to becoming an effective competitive glider pilot.  The ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Certificates help cement the knowledge and safe habits into place.

It should also be recognised that not all pilots want to fly cross-country all the time, nor do they necessarily want to compete.  Some pilots enjoy sharing a two-seater for a pleasant couple of hours soaring or introducing other members of their family to the pleasures of our sport.  These certificates are also aimed at helping them to achieve these ends.

Most glider-pilot training is practical and “hands-on” in nature.  This is as it should be.  However, there is an amount of theoretical knowledge which is not only desirable but actually makes the task of learning to fly easier and more pleasurable.  The theoretical knowledge is imparted progressively as flying training continues.

 

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